Making news in 2017

Looking back at the big stories of the past year

Serving a variety of in-house made brews, North Channel Brewing Co. opened its doors to downtown Manistee on Nov. 10. (Ashlyn Korienek/News Advocate)

Serving a variety of in-house made brews, North Channel Brewing Co. opened its doors to downtown Manistee on Nov. 10. (Ashlyn Korienek/News Advocate)

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is third of a three-part series on the top stories of the year in Manistee County. Today will look at the months of September to December.

MANISTEE — The final four months of the year in Manistee County saw plenty of ups and downs when it came to local news.

From changes in local leadership to new development projects, news revolved around a variety of issues impacting those in Manistee County.

September

Edgewater redevelopment moves forward

The long-awaited Edgewater redevelopment, at 80 Washington St. in Manistee, hit its final phase of construction.

At the Manistee Planning Commission meeting on Sept. 7, River Parc Place II LLC requested a special use permit for a 14-18 unit Multi Family Dwelling, which was approved unanimously.

Developers said the Edgewater project will include one and two bedroom units, and will be owner-occupied by secondary residences or vacationers. The parking lot and landscape still need work, which was proposed to be finished at the end of the summer.

Daniels steps down from Council on Aging

A long-term member of the Manistee County Council on Aging, Bob Daniels, stepped down from his position as president early in September. He was president of the board since 2013.

Daniels felt the time was right to step aside, as the annual election of officers was approaching soon. Vice president George Wagoner also decided to leave his position, as well. Two applicants were considered for the positions at the time.

Munson Healthcare Manistee Hospital to build new Community Health Center

Staff members of Munson Healthcare Manistee Hospital held a ceremonial groundbreaking on Sept. 21, to celebrate the construction of its Community Health Center.

Plans call for a 46,000 square-foot building to be finished within 14 months, housing specialty clinics, rehabilitation services and the Manistee Health Connection fitness center.

Staff members of Munson Healthcare Manistee Hospital held a ceremonial groundbreaking on Sept. 21, celebrating the construction of its Community Health Center. (Dylan Savela/News Advocate)

Staff members of Munson Healthcare Manistee Hospital held a ceremonial groundbreaking on Sept. 21, celebrating the construction of its Community Health Center. (Dylan Savela/News Advocate)

Pefley appointed city clerk

After holding the position as city clerk for 15 years, Michelle Wright decided to retire on Jan. 5. Wright has worked for the city for 28 years.

At a Manistee City Council meeting on Sept. 20, Heather Pefley, deputy clerk, was appointed to fill the position after a unanimous vote by council. A new deputy clerk will be selected.

October

Greenacre welcomed as library’s new executive director

In the Oct. 4 edition of the News Advocate, Debra Greenacre was welcomed as the new Manistee County Library executive director.

In September, the Manistee County Library board approved Greenacre’s position after a months-long search. Former executive director Chuck Haemker retired after serving 11 years in the role.

Bulerski found guilty on all charges

Gregory Bulerski, 43, was found guilty on three counts of criminal sexual assault in Manistee County’s 19th Circuit Court on Oct. 13.

After a tree-day trial by jury, Bulerski was found guilty for two felony counts of third degree criminal sexual conduct — one for digital/vaginal penetration and one for penile/vaginal penetration — and a felony count of second degree criminal sexual conduct.

A lesser charge of criminal sexual conduct in the fourth degree was dropped in exchange for the third count. Count one is punishable by up to 15 years in prison, count two is up to five years and the third is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Habitat for Humanity breaks ground on new build

The Manistee County Habitat for Humanity broke ground during the first week of October to build a new house, which will go to a local family.

This marked the 11th house constructed in Manistee County under the local chapter’s new home program since its inception in 1994. The last build was completed in 2014.

New houses are sold to partner families with very low interest mortgages, which are to be paid over 20 years.

November

North Channel Brewing Co. opens its doors

After several years in the making, North Channel Brewing Co. opened its doors to the public in downtown Manistee on Nov. 10.

Left vacant for many years, the historical building located on Washington Street was restored, housing a new brewpub and upstairs apartments, which will not be ready until 2018.

The brewery has a Tex-mex menu with 12 on-tap beverages, which will alternate based on the brews/hard ciders that are available and by season. Opening week saw a full house, with residents lined down the street.

Smith to serve another term as Manistee’s mayor

Council member Lynda Beaton was re-elected to the second district seat over challenger Howard Turk on Nov. 7. (Ashlyn Korienek/News Advocate)

Council member Lynda Beaton was re-elected to the second district seat over challenger Howard Turk on Nov. 7. (Ashlyn Korienek/News Advocate)

Entering a second term as mayor, James Smith was re-elected to his seat at the Manistee City Council organizational meeting on Nov. 14, at a 5-2 council vote. Council member Dale Cooper nominated Roger Zielinski to serve again as mayor pro-tem.

Michelle Wright swore in three council members who ran in the Nov. 7 election. Council member Lynda Beaton was re-elected to the second district seat over challenger Howard Turk. Jim Grabowski ran uncontested for the sixth district and incumbent Chip Goodspeed (also uncontested) was re-elected to the fourth district.

Ward named fifth president of WSCC

After a thorough search, Scott Ward was named the fifth president of West Shore Community College (WSCC) on Nov. 20, at a unanimous vote by the WSCC Board of Trustees.

Ward served as acting/interim president from September 2014 to July 2015, following the retirement of former president Charles Dillon. He served again as interim president until June 2017, following the resignation of Dr. Kenneth Urban. Ward has been with the college since August 2009.

Manistee Civic Players ends partnership with Ramsdell Theatre

The Manistee Civic Players (MCP) board of directors announced on Nov. 14, the Ramsdell Theatre will no longer be its performance home. MCP has been with the theatre since 1939, when the group was first established.

The MCP board and Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts (RRCA) board members both released statements, which detailed reasons why the partnership was no longer feasible.

In 2016, the RRCA board was established to govern, operate and manage the theater under a single 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. At the time, the MCP decided not to unite with the nonprofit.

MCP board members stated the Ramsdell endured several changes since then, which left a number of unresolved issues. After several meetings, both parties could not come to a mutual agreement.

Salyer retiring as ISD general education director

After 17 years with the Manistee Intermediate School District, general education director Kay Salyer announced her plans to retire at the end of the school year to the board of education on Nov. 23.

During her tenure, Salyer developed a system, along with ISD general education consultants Kim Rinehart and Dency Lippert, to provide professional development to teachers in Manistee County.

Schaub’s bond set for $1 million cash/surety

Following the death of Bruce Schaub, Jeneva Anne Schaub, of Manistee, was arraigned in Manistee County’s 19th Circuit Court on Nov. 27.

Schaub faces a felony charge of homicide/open murder. If convicted of open murder, the charge holds a maximum life sentence.

On Aug. 8, Bruce suffered a fatal stab wound; he was pronounced dead at Munson Healthcare Manistee Hospital shortly afterward.

During the hearing on Nov. 27, Schaub entered a not guilty plea. Judge David Thompson set her bond at $1 million cash/or surety.

Prosecutor Jason Haag, and Jeneva Schaub's attorney, Janet Mistele, proceed with Schaub's arraigned in Manistee County’s 19th Circuit Court on Monday. (Ashlyn Korienek/News Advocate).

Prosecutor Jason Haag, and Jeneva Schaub’s attorney, Janet Mistele, proceed with Schaub’s arraignment in Manistee County’s 19th Circuit Court on Monday. (Ashlyn Korienek/News Advocate).

December

WSCC board agrees to property purchase

The West Shore Community College (WSCC) public safety programming found a new future home, as a property purchase was approved on Dec. 11, at a special WSCC Board of Trustees meeting.

The board approved the request at a 5-0 vote, to purchase the former West Michigan Regional Cancer and Blood Center at 6050 N. U.S. 31, from Riemer Real Estate Investments LLC. The board paid $985,000 for the property.

Proposed senior center project falls through

In early December, the Manistee County Council on Aging (MCCOA) canceled plans to relocate its Senior Center to the former Oleson’s Food Stores building in Manistee.

Third Coast Development, heading the project, was also looking to create senior housing that would surround the proposed senior center.  A portion of the building would also be rented to Save-A-Lot Food Stores.

After facing several complications with project funds, Sarah Howard, executive director of the MCCOA, announced that the related costs are no longer feasible. The board is now pursuing other avenues for the Senior Center at this time.

Save-A-Lot Food Stores is still scheduled to open its doors to the public on Jan. 10, in the former Oleson’s building at 160 Memorial Drive.

County offers Kieft administrator position

After a months-long search, David Kieft Jr. was offered the position for the Manistee County controller/administrator at a Manistee County Board of Commissioners regular meeting on Dec. 19.

Tom Kaminski is set to retire from the position on Feb. 28. Kieft was one of three other candidates up for the position; Tyler Leppanen, of Manistee, and Cadillac’s Precia L. Garland were also vying for the position.

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Posted by Ashlyn Korienek

Ashlyn is the cops & courts and city reporter for the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach her at (231) 398-3109 or akorienek@pioneergroup.com

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